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TRAI Won’t Budge, Says Will Execute New Tariff Arrangement By March 1

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on Monday said it could apply alterations to its February 2019 tariff arrangement as broadcasters have united against it.

On Monday, companies including Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN) and also Disney India transferred Bombay High Court challenging alterations to the new tariff arrangement (NTO).

It restricts blowing off of station bouquets and brings the cost of individual stations.

Reiterating its standing, TRAI, which manages both telecom and television businesses in the nation, stated the alterations suggested on January 1 was completed to fix”distortions” from the current market and address pricing problems.

“We’re against any cost distortion to the client,” TRAI chairman R S Sharma said, adding that the body has been open to some conversation with stakeholders.

“Anyone is free to approach the courtroom. NTO 2.0 is all about fine-tuning the initial arrangement and can be targeted at assisting customers. TRAI isn’t against station bouquets. The whole practice of NTO 2.0 would be to alleviate the customer’s pain,” said Sharma, in reaction to queries raised by broadcasters.

On Friday, the nation’s leading broadcasters, such as Star, Sony, Zee, Viacom18 and Discovery had come together in a rare show of solidarity to share their displeasure over the pricing alterations.

“There are two tariff exercises in under a year. What was the necessity to have another one . It merely suggests that the former exercise wasn’t thought by which is why it had to be tweaked so shortly,” said Uday Shankar, chairman of both Star and Disney in India.

“We’d shared our points of view together with the regulator through consultations which occurred after the prior NTO. TRAI has chosen to dismiss these largely. We haven’t had any in depth discussions with the ruler following the January 1 alterations,” explained NP Singh, managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO), SPN. He’s also president of the Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF).

Broadcasters that Business Standard talked to had stated they wouldn’t publish their new station costs in accordance with the industry regulator’s deadline of January 15.

Distribution platform operators (DPOs) have been given time until January 30 to come out with their pricing choices.

In its defence, TRAI said that broadcasters continued to have complete flexibility to cost their station as the retail cost of any station stayed in forbearance.

The issue with broadcasters, TRAI said, seeing placement abuse and fee with some DPOs manipulating the Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) had been addressed.―Market Research Publicist

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